Former Boston Celtic Kevin Garnett alleges his former financial adviser stole $77 million from him, and that a certified public accountant working with the adviser knew about it but did nothing to stop the flow of cash.
The lawsuit was filed first in Minnesota state court but then shifted to federal court by lawyers for the accountant, Michael A. Wertheim, and his Kentucky firm, Welenken CPAs. Attorneys for the accountant and the firm insist their client did nothing wrong.
Here are some items from the lawsuit that allege Wertheim knew about the scam, and Garnett is asking that the accountant and his firm make good on $77 million he alleges he lost.
■ Garnett learned that he lost millions of dollars in 2017 only after his former financial adviser, Charles Augustus Banks IV, was sentenced to three years in prison by a federal judge for stealing money from another NBA great, former San Antonio Spurs star Tim Duncan.
Last month, the federal appeals court upheld Banks’s conviction. He is currently serving his sentence at the minimum security FPC Montgomery in Montgomery, Ala. Banks is not named in the lawsuit.
■ In 2013, Garnett was living on a budget allegedly set up by Banks with Wertheim’s input. The professional athlete asked for $40,000 of his own money, a request Banks denied in an e-mail that indicated Garnett was to curtail spending, not increase it.
“Its pretty ugly and going to be very difficult but you can do it and it will change your life forever (financially),” Banks wrote.
Around the same time, Banks allegedly shifted $2.2 million from a shared investment account and later transferred $14.8 million — accounting for about half as a loan — into accounts he alone controlled.
■ Garnett contributed $57 million into one shared investment account, called Hammer Holdings LLC, while Banks threw in $2.5 million. “Banks routinely used significant sums of Hammer’s funds for his own purposes . . . to hire private jets, to take his family on lavish vacations.”
Banks allegedly transferred “millions of dollars” to his wife, a Danish fine wine collector, and “unidentified parties in Hong Kong and Norway.”
■ Banks allegedly invested Garnett’s money in a California restaurant that failed, a winery and a hotel fund, coastal properties, a music company, a wine magazine, and “entities that may be further discovered.”
■ Between the two professional athletes, Banks allegedly misappropriated about $100 million in cash. According to federal court records, Duncan has been repaid about $7 million by Banks.